Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Is the U.S. a police state?

The disclosure of widespread torture of Muslim detainees, CIA spying on the U.S. Senate, and police violence, especially against blacks, raises the question of whether the U.S. has become a police state.
Supporters of paramilitary police, the anti-drug war, and widespread NSA spying have ignored the will of their beloved “forefathers.” Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”
It comes as no surprise that these tactics often, and perhaps in the majority of cases, prove ineffective. They do not reduce crime, nor halt terrorism.
Some would argue that the wave of terrorism now being faced by the U.S and the West is a reaction to torture of Muslim detainees, even after they were cleared of involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The arming of police with military gear hasn’t resulted in one case of a gun massacre being prevented. When law enforcement got information about possible massacres they failed to stop them.
Nor has the dramatic increase of guns held by U.S. citizens resulted in a single case of a gun massacre being prevented or halted.
The nation wouldn’t even know the details of the torture if the CIA had not been caught spying on the U.S. Senate.
Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California had consistently supported the intelligence machine until she found out it was spying on her own staff.
Now she accuses the CIA of the dreaded word “torture.”
A 500-page summary of five years of investigation was released Tuesday.
President Barack Obama, who ordered these practices ended when he took office, said the revelations were “troubling.”
He said, in a statement, "That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad. It reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests."
Even some Republicans, who generally opposed releasing the information, conceded divulging it would make it less likely to happen again. Although the CIA had covered up its practices from the White House of former President George W. Bush for years, it later revealed them to him.
In an OP-ED page column in the New York Times, Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, suggested a way to ensure future presidents do not allow such actions.
He called on Obama to “pardon” Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other leading members of his administration. Romero’s point was that no one was going to prosecutor the previous administration but the effective blacklisting of his legacy would be a deterrent.
Romero noted that conservatives had pushed Bush to pardon CIA and other torturers before he left office.
“The spectacle of the president’s granting pardons to torturers still makes my stomach turn. But doing so may be the only way to ensure that the American government never tortures again. Pardons would make clear that crimes were committed; that the individuals who authorized and committed torture were indeed criminals; and that future architects and perpetrators of torture should beware. Prosecutions would be preferable, but pardons may be the only viable and lasting way to close the Pandora’s box of torture once and for all,” Romero wrote.

New York Times

Huffington Post

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